Although your child may not be aware you once had a green Mohawk in your twenties or that the pair of red and black bondage pants in your closet is actually not part of a Halloween costume, it’s comforting to know that there are good reasons to revel in your punk roots far into middle age. As seen on the documentary “The Other F Word”, a profile of middle aged fathers who fronted the biggest punk bands to hit the world, being a punk rocker can be balanced nicely with parenting duties. In fact, enlightening your children to your talents and refusal to grow musty can teach them a lot about tolerance and the passion of pursuing a talent lifelong. So, without further ado, even if you feel a little too creaky to jump into the mosh pit at the next Penny wise show, here is how you can still be a punk rock parent with class and dignity.
Teach as many resourcefulness and DIY skills as you can to your kids. Teaching them how to do things rather than how to buy things will be one of the most useful and thoughtful gifts of punk philosophy that you can pass on.
Teach independence in chores and responsibilities early on. Doing everything for your kids teaches them to feel entitled rather than capable. As soon as your child is old enough to do things on his or her own, encourage it. Show how to wash dishes and clothes, clean the house, mend clothing and all of the daily necessary things, then build expectations that your child will do his or her own chores from that point on.
Obsolescence-proof your kids. As far as you’re able, teach kids how to life hack everything from the motherboard to the vacuum cleaner. Being able to fix things that break, to re-engineer things that get overtaken by technology and to make completely new things from scratch will give your kids a sense of strength in an ever-changing world.
Be conscious that your kids and teens may not experience rebellious moments, especially if you’re a permissive and tolerant type. In fact, they might even goad you into telling them off once in a while, just to see if you care enough to set limits. That’s okay––set a few simple ones and always be there for them when they need you.
Calm the anarchy. While anarchy may reign supreme in the credo of a punk, anarchy in the household is rather less helpful. Having systems in place to remain organized, from cleaning clothes and bed linen to preparing the kids’ lunches is essential for keeping on top of everything that child raising entails. If you haven’t already discovered this, cease your resistance to household systems, for these will restore calm and precious time in your life, freeing you up to pursue more exciting things that you love, like punk rock.
Don’t force punk rock on your kids. Don’t be bothered when your kids tell you it’s weird music and they’d rather not hear it, or they prefer Justin Bieber. And even though you may recall the time your best friend had his teeth kicked in during this great Black Flag song, be ready for your teen to think it blows. Your kids are individuals with their own taste. It may take time to win them over unless you’ve had punk rock blaring in the background since their birth. In turn, be ready to appreciate their music taste too, without your sarcastic commentary!
Find out if any of your kids’ favorite bands were inspired by one of your former punk bands. As with most musical cycling, many of the emerging bands (both non-punk and punk) today have been inspired by a punk band from the past. If you discover this, it’s a great way to point out how your kid’s favorite band was inspired by one of your favorite bands.